Majority Of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana
Poll Shows American Support For Legal Marijuana
A recent Gallup poll released on Tuesday found that a majority of Americans are in support of legal cannabis. This is the first time in Gallup’s history that a poll has revealed majority American support for legalizing marijuana.
According to Gallup, 1,028 Americans were asked, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” Reportedly, 58% answered ‘Yes’.
“58% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.” – Gallup
This is almost a 50% increase from when Americans were first asked the same question back in 1969. In fact, there has been a 10% increase in support among Americans in the last four years alone, according to Gallup.
Seemingly, the Independent political demographic may have caused a considerable amount of the change. Though support barely increased among Democrats and Republicans, sixty-two percent of independents now favor the legalization of cannabis, a 12-point increase from 2012.
A majority of Democrats (65%) and Independents (62%) said they were in favor of legalization, but most Republicans (35% in favor) still voiced their opposition.
Additionally, the Gallup poll found that Americans 65 and older (45% in support) are the only age group that still opposes legalizing cannabis. In contrast, the 18-29 age demographic (67%) exhibited the most support.
Why Are More Americans Voicing Their Support For Legalization?
The increased support likely has a lot to do with the legalization in Colorado and Washington at the end of 2012. However, with the recent announcements from the Department of Justice back in August, and programs such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN ‘Weed’ documentary, cannabis may be becoming normalized.
“It is clear that interest in this drug and these issues will remain elevated in the foreseeable future.”– Art Swift, Gallup
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) annual “Crime in the United States” report that was released last month, there was an estimated 749,842 arrests made nationwide for cannabis in 2012; that’s one every 42 seconds to be exact.
Additionally, more than 87% of the arrests made in 2012 were for simple possession of cannabis. This means 658,231 American citizens were put in handcuffs last year for possessing a plant that has been determined by science to have therapeutic effects.
In their report, Gallup adds that a portion of the increased support could be attributed to a change in social mores. As the report suggests, “the increasing prevalence of medical marijuana as a socially acceptable way to alleviate symptoms of diseases such as arthritis, and as a way to mitigate side effects of chemotherapy, may have also contributed to Americans’ growing support.”
Regardless of the cause of increased support, Gallup expects the momentum to spur further efforts to legalize cannabis. Citing efforts to pass to pass a referendum in favor of legal marijuana in Portland, Maine, the study concludes, “It is clear that interest in this drug and these issues will remain elevated in the foreseeable future.”